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Maintain Your Authority: Don’t shy away from tough truth with your clients

February 8, 2011

“In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend.”
–Solon, Athenian Statesman, 638 BC — 558 BC

 Balancing the desire to land a listing  against  the ethical and professional  obligation to give the best possible advice can be hard. Almost everyone has lost a client to an agent who “bought a listing” with unrealistic promises. While it can be frustrating, it’s best to keep the following in mind:

If you speak to please instead of counsel, you’ll end up a slave to what your clients want to hear.

Cultivating a habit, even unintentionally, of saying only the easy or pleasing thing will ultimately cost you a great deal in the long run. To establish your credibility, it’s key that you not only counsel based on your experience, but have the ability to show clients the how and why of your counsel. By providing data, stories of previous transactions, and even testimonials or references from other clients, you can help turn “bad news” or “disappointing truths” into proof as to why you are a professional looking out for your clients’ best interest.

The hazard of seeking to please is this: Before you know it, your client will see you as their “sales assistant.” You won’t be working alongside them, guiding them, you’ll be receiving orders: “More ads!” “More open houses!” “More showings!”

It’s very hard to reverse this trend in a client/agent relationship once the ball is rolling. The best thing to do from the start is manage the relationship as the professional counsel you’re hired to be. If it costs you a few clients along the way, don’t worry– those clients likely would have cost you much, much more.

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